Fenil and Bollywood

Posts Tagged ‘Zanjeer

The biggest hits of their career were NEVER meant to be theirs

MEENA IYER Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; January 2, 2010)

You talk to any film director and he’ll give you gyaan on how such and such actor is in the film because he/she fit the casting to the ‘t’.

Yet, the reality of the matter is something else. It is usually who is available; and sometimes who is more saleable.

Take the latest: Aamir Khan was never meant to be playing the idiot in his latest film. It was to be Shah Rukh Khan. Since SRK and producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra had a difference of opinion, the Bollywood Badshah was replaced by Aamir. And while the rest is history, there are innumerable such examples in the film industry.

History knows that Amitabh Bachchan was not Prakash Mehra’s first choice for Zanjeer. It was meant to be Dev Anand or Raaj Kumar. When both actors said no, the Big B stepped in. Jaya Bachchan even thanked Dev saab for refusing the Zanjeer role. The film gave her — her real life husband and it gave Bollywood one of its most revered screen couples.

Today you wonder how Dev saab would ever have fit into the angry young man mould. But that’s an after-thought.
Hrishikesh Mukherjee wanted Raj Kapoor to play Anand. When he couldn’t, Hrishida sent for Shashi Kapoor but Rajesh Khanna wormed his way in. And till today Anand is synonymous with the 70s phenomenon.

Shatrughan Singh continues to smart that it was he who was to be Jai in the Jai-Veeru jodi of Sholay but because he was riding a crest of super-success then, he didn’t want to do a twohero film. Amitabh Bachchan got the role instead.
Aamir had been pencilled in for Yash Chopra’s Darr but at that point he ‘accused’ Yash of playing games. And SRK made a permanent place for himself in the YRF camp.
Ajay Devgn was to play Karan in Rakesh Roshan’s Karan Arjun. But he was ousted by politics and next thing you know is that Salman Khan was in. Till today Karan Arjun remains one of the biggest hits of Bollywood and Salman’s career. And it may become film history because he and bete noire are unlikely to star in a movie again.

Saif Ali Khan had qualms about playing a pansy in Dostana so John Abraham was brought in. John got male and female temperatures rising with this fun flick and is now a part of its sequel.

Kareena Kapoor asked for too much money for Kal Ho Na Ho; result — Preity Zinta landed this memorable film. Shah Rukh was meant to be playing Munnabhai but since he walked out after some miscommunication, Sanjay Dutt became Munna. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan was in Chalte Chalte till Salman dropped in as an uninvited guest forcing SRK to call Rani Mukerji to replace her… and Rekha and Jaya would never have had their screen face-off in Silsila had Parveen Babi and Smita Patil done their roles.

Unlike real history, reel history is often made by default.
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LAUGHING ALL THE WAY TO THE BANK: Bollywood hit producer Boney Kapoor prepares for his next blockbuster,
Milenge Milenge, starring Kareena Kapoor and Shahid Kapoor

Boney Kapoor is buoyed by the success of Wanted and the future prospects of the last Kareena-Shahid film together

MARK MANUEL Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; November 9, 2009)

Boney Kapoor is maha excited. Not over Wanted, his September blockbuster that got close to Rs 40 crore billing, but by his January release Milenge Milenge — which is the last time you will see Kareena Kapoor and Shahid Kapoor romantically paired on screen. I don’t have to tell you the film’s been in the making for a while, but Boney is confident it will be successful. “I can feel it in my bones,” he said emphatically, “why should it not work, it’s a good love story, it’s got fantastic music.” But what about the chemistry between Kareena and Shahid, I asked. “That’s there,” Boney declared, “besides, once the lights are off in the theatre, you forget whether they are a couple or not, and they become characters.”
He’s been a major player in Bollywood for 33 years now, and has always been big on ideas, and bigger on executing them. Which accounts for some 30 successes over the 80s, 90s and so far into the 2000s. Now he rattled off their names to me not in any order but as they came to mind. “There was Judaai in 1997 with Anil Kapoor and Sridevi which was a major hit but not a blockbuster,” he began, “Company, Pukar in 2000 — that won the National Award, and Loafer which was very successful, also Run in 2004… Abhishek Bachchan’s cleansing began with this film, and Sirf Tum in which Sushmita Sen had the superhit song Dilbar… then No Entry, the biggest commercial success of 2005, and Wanted now, which I would rate as one of the Top 10 films of all time. It’s still running! And it’s a case study to the business that has evolved now. When people talk of a film raking in Rs 200 crore… that’s a western concept to lure eyeballs. What you get in hand is what matters. I gave you the Indian boxoffice figures for Wanted. The overseas, satellite, home video/audio, branding rights are separate.”
He’s had some lemons at the box office as well, films like Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja in 1993 that I wasn’t reminding him about. However, Boney said on his own, “I’m a complete hands-on filmmaker, I’ve been through it all, I’ve done so many films, and several for my brothers Anil and Sanjay too, that I’ve got to know the complete and detailed aspects of filmmaking and distribution. With today’s invasion of corporates, the role of the producer is not underlined, there’s just a mad rush to put the package together. That’s why you’ve seen so many packages falling like nine pins! The control of the project is the engine… and it’s important to have a producer driving it with passion. Yes, the corporates brought in discipline where the business of filmmaking is concerned, and they streamlined the revenue mode, but they took away the passion.” That Boney has passion, there is no doubt. “I’ve been through the highs and lows, I’ve had a fractured financial status, but even then… if I can still churn out a blockbuster, what magic might I have done with a complete back-up,” he asked. The answer to that, perhaps, is in the films his production house BSK Network and Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. is making. I’ve already told you about Milenge Milenge. Then there’s the Anees Bazmee directed It’s My Life with Genelia, Harman Baweja and Nana Patekar, a remake of the successful South Indian film Bombraillu in Telugu and Santosh Subramaniam in Tamil. Isn’t Hurman bad news in Bollywood, I asked. “Wasn’t Amitabh bad news until Zanjeer,” Boney shot back. And he’s got three more films in mind for which Boney Kapoor can already hear the cash tills at the box office ringing. They are all sequels. “I’m starting Mr. India 2 — Be Positive,
there’s a strong possibility of Anil and Sridevi being the
lead pair, plus a new, young couple, and somebody big playing the major and unusual role of the villain. Then I’ve got a fix for No Entry 2. And somebody suggested a good idea for Most Wanted. Everything depends on the viability of the projects and availability of the main crew. I’m a strong believer in the need for a good support system. My cast is always according to the need of the film. What works is not a package, but the product.”
Forty actors will pay homage to Amitabh Bachchan tonight on the eve of his 67th birthday, by dressing up as popular characters from his films

By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; October 10, 2009)

Hours before Amitabh Bachchan brings in his 67th birthday tomorrow, producers of forthcoming film Rann, Sheetal Talwar and Madhu Mantena, have invited Bachchan to a suburban theatre at 7 pm tonight for a promotional event. However, in reality, the event is being held to celebrate his four decades in the film industry. Forty of his fans, who are also actors, will be dressed as Bachchan’s most memorable characters and mouth his dialogue from the film.

Giving out details of the homage, co-producer Talwar says, “Mr Bachchan’s 40-year-old journey in Hindi cinema is exceptional in every sense. He started his career with Saat Hindustani in 1969 and that’s where our staged homage begins.”

Amitabh Bachchan

Bachchan characters from landmark films like Zanjeer, Sholay, Deewaar, Amar Akbar Anthony, Black, etc are also a part of the homage, which will conclude with Bachchan’s character from Sarkar.

Getting 40 actors, who were also Bachchan fans for the homage, was a cakewalk. Talwar says, “It wasn’t difficult at all. All we did is spread the word about us planning a clones’ tribute to the superstar for his birthday. We were flooded with requests from dozens of artistes who wanted to play the characters in front of Mr Bachchan. We sifted through the legion of applicants to shortlist the ones who fitted the bill.”

The homage is meant to be a surprise for Bachchan. “Mr Bachchan thinks we’re inviting him to an event related to Rann. He doesn’t know about the homage yet,” chuckles Sheetal.

We do hope Mr Bachchan isn’t reading this!

FEELING THE LOSS: Amitabh Bachchan and (right) Prakash Mehra. The Man With The Midas Touch

‘Vijay’ of Zanjeer pays tribute to filmmaker Prakash Mehra who gave him that big break…

By AMITABH BACHCHAN Times News Network(BOMBAY TIMES; May 16, 2009)

Yesterday morning brought in news of the passing away of Prakash Mehra. What is it about death that draws one away into a vacuum and then starts filling it up with memories and nostalgia?

It was early 1971 when I met Prakashji for the first time at RajKamal Studios. He had come to ask me to work in his first home production film, Zanjeer. Salim-Javed that had written the script, had suggested my name to him. He had had a few successes as an individual director with the stars of the day — Dharamji, Shashiji and now wanted to go independent. That first meeting translated itself into a relationship, much documented now, in the annals of Hindi cinema history.

Prakash Mehra was an allrounder in his craft. He was first a writer and coming from the North had great sense of the language and its temperament. Writers gain recognition because of their inert story-telling capacity. That was
Prakashji’s forte. He was a great storyteller. A teller of stories that imbibed the qualities of drama and emotion and the farcical — all within the context of our rich national morals, culture and ethics. All of his films contained sufficient quantities of this. He was also a gifted lyricist, which many were unaware of. His contribution to the songs in his films were never credited, but there was never a moment in them, where he had not made significant contribution. And, he was a musician; his knowledge of the craft ably reflected in the music scores that adorned his stories and his films. Many of the tunes that were selected were at times actually sung by him to give an idea to the music directors on what form or tenor he wanted from them.

What he did not possess and what he paid scant respect to, was technology. Complicated camera angles through the use of sophisticated equipment, editing jugglery, excessive reliance on cinematic calisthenics, were distasteful to him. “Log kahani dekhne aayenge, camera ki kabaddi nahin!” was his oft-repeated refrain. His frames were simple therefore, steady and respectful to what the artists were doing; never
distracted by excessive zooms and trolley movements. He would place the camera at a spot and allow the scene to progress for as long as the artists could go. When we erred, he would not ask for a retake. He would merely cut the shot and move closer or at a different angle and ask us to continue from where we had last stopped.
His early years of apprentice with some of the most prominent makers of the time had perhaps insulated him from any of the more modern techniques. But his investments in other modes of modernisation in filmmaking were most relevant — the first Arriflex camera with the blimp, interesting lenses, a dubbing studio with state of the art facility, being some among them. He was a simple man who had come from very humble beginnings.
His commercial successes never ever betrayed his respect for the people that he grew up with or with those that remained with him during his phenomenal journey. He addressed me endearingly as ‘Lalla’ as did I him and each time he would be impressed by a shot that I gave, he would quietly walk up to me and kiss my forehead. He had an air of fun and comedy about him. Many a humorous moment in his films were on the spot instinctive introductions; though his own suppressed laughter, during the time of its enactment once the cameras were rolling, remained a perennial distraction for the artist and more particularly for the sound recordist! On many an occasion we had to plead with him to leave the set in order to be able to ‘can’ the shot without interruption.
He remained my neighbour throughout his film career; sympathetic and caring in moments of distress and exuberant in our moments of joy. He named his second son Amit after me and remained a proud father to his other two, Sumeet and Puneet. He bore the trauma of his ailing wife, lying in coma for years at his house, with great fortitude. We have lost a great filmmaker and a wonderful human. Lalla, I shall miss you. May you remain in peace wherever you are.

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